The Washington Examiner reported on Monday that Kentucky Senator and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he would not support Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee in their efforts to filibuster a resolution that would defund Obamacare. Consequently, because House Republicans sponsored the resolution that Cruz and Lee want to filibuster, a distinct possibility exists that the government will shut down by next week.
The filibuster efforts weren’t helped by Minority Whip John Cornyn, who joined McConnell in siding against Cruz and Lee. The move is politically unusual, mostly because McConnell, Cornyn, Cruz, and Lee all want the same thing: funding for the government, but no funding for Obamacare.
The Wall Street Journal reported McConnell saying, “I just don’t happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare. All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded. And none of us want that.”
McConnell believes that the final vote, scheduled by Harry Reid for today, would be the primary test of Democrats going face-to-face with an unenthusiastic electorate. “If five Senate Democrats vote against the Majority Leader, Obamacare will be defunded. That’s a vote we should want to have,” McConnell said.
Across the aisle, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid charged Republicans to back down and give up fighting a law that was passed three years ago. Reid went on to suggest that if a government shutdown takes place, Republicans will be to blame. Then, he quoted Confucius: “When an anger rises, think of the consequences… It is time to stop obsessing over old battles.”
A spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Matt Canter, told the Wall Street Journal that McConnell is fighting an uphill battle against both parties. “Mitch McConnell is terrified of Ted Cruz and the tea party… Regardless of his rhetoric, voters know that McConnell is the reason for gridlock and dysfunction in Washington, and if there is a shutdown, he will shoulder the blame,” Canter said.
If you’re interested in reading quotes from other politicians about the filibuster, Fox News collected some from the talk show circuit.
[Image via a YouTube video of McConnell trashing Harry Reid]